Thousands raised in 48 hours for Bo'ness and Kinneil Railway's emergency landslide appeal

Public pledge support for heritage railway

Saturday, 15th August 2020, 9:32 pm
Updated Sunday, 16th August 2020, 7:12 am
Landslides affecting a stretch of the Bo'ness and Kinneil Railway line are estimated to cost around £100,000 to repair.  (Pic: SRPS)
Landslides affecting a stretch of the Bo'ness and Kinneil Railway line are estimated to cost around £100,000 to repair. (Pic: SRPS)

An appeal launched to help repair the Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway following significant storm damage has raised over £14,000 in less than 48 hours.

Following the torrential rain and severe thunderstorms over night on Tuesday, multiple landslips have been identified along a mile-long stretch of the railway causing the line to be declared unfit for traffic and closing it to all trains.

Having been closed for the 2020 season so far due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the damage which is estimated to cost £100,000 to repair, has come as a huge blow to the Scottish Railway Preservation Society which runs the popular heritage railway, especially as preparations were beginning to take place for a planned re-opening next month.Andrew Fowler, director and trustee of the SRPS, said: “During the storm on Tuesday/Wednesday our railway line was severely damaged by the torrential downpour, which has resulted in a number of landslides affecting the railway line.

"Having been closed all year due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we were about to begin crew refresher training next weekend ahead of a public reopening in September.

"To be hit with potentially a £100,000 repair bill for the landslides when we have had no income all year is devastating for us as a charity, and reluctantly, we have launched a major fundraising appeal.”

Initial surveys suggest the repair method for the worst landslip will likely involve transporting over 1000 tonnes of rock to the site of the landslip to reinforce the embankment.

And the SRPS are hoping members of the public will show their support for the attraction.

Since launching on Friday morning, more than £14,000 has been pledged on the emergency appeal page.

On the fundraising page, the SRPS said: “The worst of the landslips has occurred on a steep embankment near ‘High Bridge’.

"A geo-structural engineer has inspected the site and we have since estimated that this damage may cost £100,000 to repair.

“The significant damage to our railway line could not have come at worse time: we had planned a limited reopening of the Railway in mid-September, after a lengthy closure due to the #Coronavirus pandemic that has left our income at a record low.

“Until the embankment is repaired, we cannot operate any trains meaning that we cannot generate any income.

"Once again, we are reaching out to our generous supporters: we need your help to raise £100,000 to fix the storm damage on the Railway.

"Any donation, large or small, will help secure the future of our Railway.

“2020 seems to be the year that keeps on giving. But we will rise to this new challenge but we need your help, too.”

Prior to the recent thunderstorms, SRPS had hoped a limited train service could have been reintroduced in mid September, but this week’s extreme weather means this is now unlikely.

However depending on the successful repair of the landslides and developments with the pandemic guidance the SRPS hopes it may be able to operate a train service later in 2020.

To find out more or to make a donation click here

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